Loss of the innocents | Eastern North Carolina Now

Lib Campbell: Above
    Tonight, playing the piano through the score of Les Mis, I had an epiphany. Empty Chairs and Empty Tables. One Day More. A Little Drop of Rain. This music speaks to the heart that recognizes loss, grieves, laments. The show itself speaks of grace and mercy and justice. And hope that things can be set right. World news tonight makes me think the ideals of grace, mercy, justice and hope have been relegated to a back seat.

    Those in the front seat are spewing misinformation, hate, defense of weapons of war and a disregard for the lives of little children who keep dying in mass murders at the hands of lunatics with guns of war. The numbers of empty chairs and empty tables in homes across America is growing exponentially.

    One Republican said out loud that there was nothing we could do about this. Holy Cow! That alone is a good reason not to be a Republican these days. Our own legislature in North Carolina passed legislation that would ban background checks for people buying handguns. Then they overrode Governor Cooper's veto. There are other states also ditching background checks and permitting regulations.

    I know the people who wrote to me after the last gun control piece I wrote will likely write again. Anonymously, of course. But let me say, this "lying, ignorant, preacher" is not on the wrong side of this issue. Too many guns. Too many assault weapons. Too little background checking. Too few mental health resources. And too few Republicans standing with the rest of us to say enough is enough.

    The Sandy Hook victims were mostly first graders. Columbine and Parkland victims were high school students. Uvalde and Nashville students were third and fourth graders.

    My sister taught fourth grade for most of her career. She said fourth grade students are at that wonderful age when they still have the innocence of children, most are eager to learn. Fourth graders are on the cusp of puberty, still pretty compliant and moldable. To lose the potential of our children is grievous for the state of the world. Ignoring the consequences of gun violence is shameful.

    Our reluctance to find solutions for the gun violence among us is robbing us of a future with hope. If mental health is the problem, lets fund an all-out effort so that anyone who needs help can easily get it.

    In recent news, a young man with a car full of weapons was arrested on the campus of NC A&T. The news report said he was in an obvious mental health crisis. If that is the general problem, let's fix it. Or let's at least know there is a problem before someone else like him drives another car full of weapons to another campus. Can we find any agreement that mentally ill people, mean people, terrorists and domestic abusers should not have guns without our knowing and some controls?

    The glorification of the AR-15 is on full display in our country. Legislators have lapel pins and tie clips of little AR-15s. They take Christmas card pictures with all their family members holding assault weapons. Those of us who only imagine what the victims of gun violence must go through, find such displays disgusting. In Uvalde, the little bodies were so mutilated, only their shoes could identify them. We cannot be a people who think ownership and gloating over such weapons is a good and healthy thing. We are losing too many of our innocents.

    I will read your hate mail. You can unfriend me. I will not stop calling for gun control until I see some action that makes a difference.

    Lib Campbell is a retired Methodist pastor, retreat leader and hosts the website: avirtualchurch.com. She welcomes comments at libcam05@gmail.com.
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